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Senate Protects St. Lawrence River & Great Lakes

April 26th, 2018 | Posted by Lee

Senate Votes to Protect the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes: Defeats Vessel Incidental Discharge Act

Last Wednesday, after a tremendous outpouring of opposition led by Save The River members and many others across the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence region, the U.S. Senate narrowly defeated the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2017 (S.1129). This bill contained a harmful provision, the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), that would have weakened rules protecting clean water and shift the oversight of ballast water discharge from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the U.S. Coast Guard.

If S.1129 with the VIDA amendment had passed, the health of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes would have been put in serious jeopardy with the threat of new aquatic invasive species introduced via ballast water discharges. Learn more here.

Your calls and emails were enormously important in defeating this harmful legislation. Thank you!

Join us in thanking the Great Lakes region Senators who voted to block this bill from going forward; call the Capitol switchboard (202) 224-3121 or send a message of thanks via social media (sample message below):

Thank you [insert your Senator(s)] for voting to protect our #StLawrenceRiver, #GreatLakes & #CleanWater by opposing VIDA! This bad bill would have weakened #invasivespecies protections. @SaveTheRiver member.

Senators to thank:

Minnesota – @AmyKlobuchar and @SenTinaSmith

Wisconsin – @SenatorBaldwin

Illinois – @SenatorDurbin (Sen. Duckworth did not vote either way)

Michigan – @SenStabenow and @SenGaryPeters

Ohio – @SenSherrodBrown

New York – @SenGillibrand and @SenSchumer

Since the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, ocean-going freighters carrying contaminated ballast water have introduced 100+ aquatic invasive species to the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. Invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels, round gobies, and the fish-killing VHS virus have caused irreparable environmental and economic damage to the River and the entire Great Lakes regions.

For 40 years Save The River has been the voice for the St. Lawrence. We will always stand to protect the health of the River but we can’t do it without your support.
Stand with us as the voice for the St. Lawrence River by becoming a member or making a donation today.

 

A copy of our latest annual report may be obtained upon request at 409 Riverside Dr, Clayton, NY 13624 or from the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau, 28 Liberty Street, 19th Flr, New York, NY 10005

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Water levels slightly lower than this time last year.

March 28th, 2018 | Posted by Lee

Water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are currently slightly lower than they were at this time last year.

Last year the Lake and River went on to set record highs in May, June and July due to a succession of unprecedented, intense rainfall events throughout their watersheds. This lead many property owners and politicians to intensely criticize the newly enacted Plan 2014 and the International Joint Commission (IJC) for not doing more to alleviate the problems high water caused.

In contrast, at this time in 2012 the levels were higher, higher even than last year, but as the region experienced an unusually dry spring and summer, levels on the Lake and River went down and stayed lower than average for the rest of the year. This lead many property owners and politicians to intensely criticize the (IJC) for not doing more to alleviate the problems low water caused.

What was missed by the critics in 2017 and 2012 and in every extreme water level year (high or low) since 1958 is the fact that no management plan will give us the tools to fine tune the levels of waterbodies as vast a Great Lake or to control the outcome of natural events – rain, snow, wind – that influence them.

The only constants across the years, other than the criticism of the water levels plan in place at that time, are the variability of the weather and the challenges of accurately predicting it long term. One other notable constant – the reminder that we need to plan carefully how we utilize the shoreline of these vast, dynamic waterbodies.

The editorial board of the Watertown Daily Times​ has a good take on the current management of Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River levels in a Sunday editorial.

The editorial board acknowledges that, while it is still too early to predict where the water level will be this summer, there is no doubt that the International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board (ILOSLRB) in . . “following the recommended practices of Plan 2014 in overseeing outflows this winter . . .have allowed for a more orderly discharge of water in a manner that ensures safety.” The ILOSLRB has done this while achieving the goal of the Plan of “Improving the health of these waterways and creating an environment more suitable to wildlife will benefit all of us.,” as the editorial points out.

On a lake and river so clearly affected by intense and highly variable weather it sounds like they are doing a difficult job well.

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Celebrate World Water Day with Save The River

March 22nd, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

On March 22 we celebrate Water World Water Day. This year’s #WorldWaterDay focuses on how we can use nature to overcome the water challenges of the 21st century.

Did you know that an estimated two-thirds of the world’s wetlands have been lost since 1900 as a result of human activity? Wetlands naturally filter toxins and sediments from water and help protect against floods by trapping and slowly releasing surface water, rain, and snowmelt.

Nature-based solutions like restoring wetlands, reconnecting rivers to flood plains, and planting trees to replenish forests are sustainable and cost-effective methods to fight the effects of climate change. The answer is in nature!

At Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper we’re all about a swimmable, drinkable, fishable St. Lawrence now and for generations to come. Join us! Click here to become a member or make a donation today. 

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Clean Water Safeguards Eliminated in Must-Pass Budget Bills

March 13th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Save The River will always stand in opposition to attacks on our nation’s most vital resource: clean water. We joined 115+ groups around the country urging our senators and congresspeople to oppose damaging ideological riders in spending legislation for Fiscal Year 2018: http://ow.ly/W1UR30iV3CW

Outdoor recreation is a way of life in New York, especially here on the St. Lawrence River. We can’t afford to eliminate conservation safeguards that protect our waters & wildlife. The dirty water riders attached to the upcoming federal budget vote will do just that.

The dirty water riders attached to the upcoming budget vote will undermine protections for drinking water that 1 in 3 Americans depend on, eliminate conservation safeguards that protect our waters & wildlife, and cut the public out of the decision making process.

Raise your voices to New York’s congressional leaders: ask them to reject all policy riders attacking safeguards for the St. Lawrence River and all streams, wetlands, lakes, rivers, and other waters that our families, communities, and economy depend on. Call them at (202) 224-3121.

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Director’s Waypoints, Winter Conference Edition

February 20th, 2018 | Posted by Lee Willbanks

Go to this edition of Director’s Waypoints

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Thank You to the Sponsors of Our 29th Winter Environmental Conference

February 6th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Thank you to our sponsors of the 29th Winter Environmental Conference. Their support makes the conference a regionally significant event promoting the health of the St. Lawrence River. Click here if you would like your business to support a healthy St. Lawrence River by supporting our annual Winter Environmental Conference. Our 30th Winter Environmental Conference will be February 2, 2019. Click here for updates.

 

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Agenda Set for Save The River’s 29th Winter Environmental Conference

January 30th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Saturday, February 3rd, attendees of this annual conference focused on the health of the St. Lawrence River will hear from a diverse group of speakers about a wide range of topics. Ann Ward, Save The River Board Member Emerita, will provide a welcome address reflecting on Save The River’s 40th anniversary. 

Click here for the conference agenda.

Commissioner Lana Pollack, U.S. Section Chair for the International Joint Commission (IJC), will speak about Plan 2014 after one year of extreme climate conditions.

Bill Werick, retired water resources planner and technical adviser to the IJC, will speak about the adaptive management component of Plan 2014.

David Bolduc, executive director of Green Marine, will speak about Green Marine’s environmental certification program for the maritime transportation industry. 

Henry Lickers, Ph.D., Environmental Science Officer for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Environment Program, and Michael Twiss, Clarkson University professor and member of the IJC Great Lakes Science Advisory Board, will provide a unique dialogue about the St. Lawrence River as habitat from native and non-native perspectives.

Lee Harper, Ph.D., president of Riveredge Environmental, Inc., and Michael Morgan, NYS DEC Project Manager, will explore the opportunities and challenges restoring and maintaining habitats for bird populations along the St. Lawrence River.

John Farrell, Ph.D., SUNY ESF professor and director of the Thousand Islands Biological Station, and Scott Schlueter, fish biologist for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Program Manager for the Fish Enhancement, Mitigation, and Research Fund, will discuss their respective work studying fish of the St. Lawrence River along with restoration and conservation efforts being made to enhance populations.

Eric Sunday, Akwesasne Cultural Restoration Program, will close the conference with a presentation about the efforts to improve awareness and education of the community about the Sturgeon population and its cultural ties with the Mohawks of Akwesasne.

Registration for this year’s Conference closes Friday, February 2nd. To secure a place, it is best to call the Save The River office at (315) 686-2010.

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Trends in St. Lawrence Fish Populations and Efforts to Enhance the Fishery

January 29th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

John Farrell, Ph.D., SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Director of the Thousand Islands Biological Station, and Scott Schlueter, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Program Manager for the Fish Enhancement, Mitigation, and Research Fund (FEMRF) will speak about trends in St. Lawrence River fish populations and efforts to enhance the fishery, focusing on the conservation efforts for focal species. 

Long- term environmental monitoring of fish populations reveal the effects of aquatic invasive species and environmental variation. Apex predators in the St. Lawrence River, including muskellunge, have declined substantially following outbreaks of viral hemorrhagic septicemia. Restoration work (both species and habitat levels) holds promise to enhance populations within environmental constraints. The FEMRF is a settlement fund resulting from the St. Lawrence Power Project relicensing with a goal to benefit the fishery resources in the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River Basin and continue research on the American Eel and other species that may be affected by the Project.

John Farrell is a Professor of Aquatic and Fisheries Science and Director of the Thousand Islands Biological Station on Governors Island in Clayton, New York. He has been engaged in aquatic research and management on the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes for nearly 30 years and has mentored numerous graduate and undergraduate students and has published and lectured extensively on fisheries, wetlands, and aquatic ecology.

Scott Schlueter is a Fish Biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from SUNY-ESF. Scott has spent more than 20 years working on St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes fisheries issues, with a special interest in the conservation of Lake Sturgeon and American Eel.

Other speakers at the Conference will include:

  • Lana Pollack will speak about Plan 2014 after one year of extreme climate conditions.
  • Ann Ward will provide the welcome address marking Save The River’s 40th anniversary.
  • Bill Werick will speak about the adaptive management of Plan 2014.
  • David Bolduc will speak about Green Marine’s environmental certification for the maritime transportation industry.
  • Lee Harper and Michael Morgan will speak about St. Lawrence River Fowl including Common and Black Terns, grassland birds, waterfowl, and raptors.
  • Henry Lickers and Michael Twiss will speak about the St. Lawrence River as habitat from a native and non-native perspective.
  • Eric Sunday will speak about efforts to improve awareness and education of the community about the Sturgeon population and its cultural ties with the Mohawks of Akwesasne.

Click here for Conference registration form or call 315-686-2010 to register. $50 registration fee includes morning coffee, lunch, and light hors d’oeuvres at the cocktail reception (cash bar).

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The St. Lawrence River as Habitat from Divergent Viewpoints

January 25th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Henry Lickers, Environmental Science Officer for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Environment Program, and Michael Twiss, Clarkson University and member of the International Joint Commission (IJC) Great Lakes Science Advisory Board, will present on the St. Lawrence River as habitat from divergent viewpoints. 

Lickers will discuss the Mohawk’s worldview of integration, not domination, with the environment concentrating on different points of view between native and non-native societies. Twiss will discuss the current status and assessment of Great Lakes connecting channels.

Lickers, member of Seneca Nation, Turtle Clan, works to incorporate First Nation’s people and knowledge into environmental planning and decision making. He has worked to address local, national, and international environmental issues with organizations including the International Joint Commission, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, and the Science and Technology Advisory Council to Environment Canada. Lickers is the author of the Haudenosaunee Environmental Action Plan and several influential writings on indigenous perspectives on resource management and environmental protection.

Twiss grew up in northern Ontario, became a dual citizen, and joined the faculty at Clarkson University in 2002, following a brief tenure at Ryerson University and a post-doctoral fellowship at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He became engaged with limnology (the science of lakes) during his baccalaureate at Trent University when he found there was such a thing. Twiss has focused his career on the Great Lakes with the goal to produce and convey the best scientific information that can be used to protect this remarkable and globally significant environment.

Other speakers at the Conference will include:

  • Lana Pollack will speak about Plan 2014 after one year of extreme climate conditions.
  • Ann Ward will provide the welcome address marking Save The River’s 40th anniversary.
  • Bill Werick will speak about the adaptive management of Plan 2014.
  • David Bolduc will speak about Green Marine’s environmental certification for the maritime transportation industry.
  • Lee Harper and Michael Morgan will speak about St. Lawrence River Fowl including Common and Black Terns, grassland birds, waterfowl, and raptors.
  • Eric Sunday will speak about efforts to improve awareness and education of the community about the Sturgeon population and its cultural ties with the Mohawks of Akwesasne.
  • John Farrell and Scott Schlueter will speak about trends in upper St. Lawrence River fish populations (complete announcement coming soon).

Click here for Conference registration form or call 315-686-2010 to register. $50 registration fee includes morning coffee, lunch, and light hors d’oeuvres at the cocktail reception (cash bar).

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Community Awareness and Education About Sturgeon

January 24th, 2018 | Posted by Margaret Hummel

Eric Sunday of the Akwesasne Cultural Restoration Program (ACRP) will present on efforts to improve awareness and education of the community about the Sturgeon population and its cultural ties with the Mohawks of Akwesasne. 

Sunday is of the Wolf Clan of the Akwesasne Mohawks. For the past four years he has studied under the Akwesasne Cultural Restoration Program as an apprentice of Fishing and River Use. The ACRP emphasizes the reconnection of youth with the land and river through hands-on workshops and educational presentations, nurturing the future with knowledge from our elders.

Sunday was one of the primary educators during the 2016 and 2017 Lake Sturgeon fingerling release for the Salmon River outreach event from the ACRP.  He was also one of the 2017 interns who assisted with interviews of Mohawk elders and creating signage for Akwesasne specific to Lake Sturgeon.

Other speakers at the Conference will include:

  • Lana Pollack will speak about Plan 2014 after one year of extreme climate conditions.
  • Ann Ward will provide the welcome address marking Save The River’s 40th anniversary.
  • Bill Werick will speak about the adaptive management of Plan 2014.
  • David Bolduc will speak about Green Marine’s environmental certification for the maritime transportation industry.
  • Lee Harper and Michael Morgan will speak about St. Lawrence River Fowl including Common and Black Terns, grassland birds, waterfowl, and raptors.
  • Henry Lickers and Michael Twiss will speak about the current status and assessment of Great Lakes connecting channels from divergent view points (complete announcement coming soon).
  • John Farrell and Scott Schlueter will speak about trends in upper St. Lawrence River fish populations (complete announcement coming soon).

Click here for Conference registration form or call 315-686-2010 to register. $50 registration fee includes morning coffee, lunch, and light hors d’oeuvres at the cocktail reception (cash bar).

 

 

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